5 Best Black Metal Bands You Must Know

Black metal is considered an underdog in the world of heavy metal music. It is characterized by ghastly shrieks and a brilliant play of guitars. At times, it is also seen as a divisive outlet featuring some really outspoken artists. The sensationalist history of this heavy metal sub-genre hardly defines it in any way. 

Even the most ardent fans of this genre with great insider knowledge are not able to define it. Most of them know black metal music through some exciting tracks and charismatic bands. Here are some of the best bands in black metal music that you must know:

1. Venom

With their second album Black Metal, Venom became pioneers of the early wave of the genre in a way. Their professional recording debut was the single released in 1981 called In League with Satan. This song later became a part of Venom’s first full-length album titled Welcome to Hell. The music of this English band was faster and harsher when compared to most of its contemporaries in the heavy metal genre. 

While Satanism had featured in metal music before, the subject itself was rarely prominent. The music of Venom was characterized by the celebration of evil subjects. Critics still regard this band as a ‘trio of buffoons’.

2. Mayhem

The career of this band represents the very evil ideology that made black metal appear so diabolical. Mayhem is a lot more than just a band. It gave stunning levels of legitimacy to the chaos and evil that this genre promises. When a member of this band committed suicide, the image of his corpse was seen on their album cover. 

One of the band members was Kristian Vikernes. He was described as the most notorious metal musician by filmmaker Sam Dunn. Vikernes had brutally stabbed the band’s guitarist Euronymous in August 1993. He was sent to prison for 21 years for this crime but was released on parole in 2009.

3. Darkthrone

This Norwegian metal band was formed in 1986 and became one of the leading black metal bands in Norway. Darkthrone adopted the typical aesthetic style in this genre by wearing corpse paint. The band was a part of the second wave of black metal music. 

Darkthrone recorded their first studio album in 1990 titled Soulside Journey. After the release of this album, they gradually shifted towards black metal. Their second album titled A Blaze in the Northern Sky was in the black metal genre.

4. Bathory

A Swedish black metal band, Bathory was named after Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian countess. The book Lords of Chaos describes the band’s first four albums as Scandinavian black metal’s blueprint. They abandoned the black metal genre in their fifth record titled Hammerheart. 

It was released in 1990 and is considered the first Viking metal album. Although they had experimented with thrash metal, Bathory continued in the Viking metal genre. The band’s existence ended when Tomas ‘Quothon’, its founder and main songwriter, died from heart failure in 2004.

5. Immortal

A Norwegian black metal band, Immortal was founded in 1991 by Abbath Doom Occulta. He is the guitarist and frontman of the band and his real name is Olve Eikemo. This band was formed from Amputation and Old Funeral, which were short-lived bands. Old Funeral was founded by Tore Bratseth and Abbath. 

Immortal was formed with Abbath as lead vocalist and bassist. Demonaz Doom Occulta was the guitarist and Armagedda played the drums. Their early music recordings were in the death metal genre. With the release of the EP Immortal in 1991, they transitioned into black metal.

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